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Listening to Patrik Schumacher

Podcasts don’t suit everyone. Simply, for many, they tend to take too long to make their points. They have an additional drawback for me, which is that I love to listen to classical music, i.e. the sort of music which can also demand a lot of time to make its various musical points.

This morning, for instance, I was happily listening to one of the very longest symphonies of all, Mahler 3.

But, I paused it. I paused it because my Twitter feed had told me about a podcast. I am listening to this podcast now. The guy asking the questions is someone American whose name I didn’t catch from the Centre for Innovative Governance Research, and the Podcastee, so to speak, the man answering the American guy’s questions, is Patrik Schumacher. Patrik Schumacher is the boss of one of the world’s most formidable architectural practices, the one founded and bossed, until she recently died, by the formidable Zaha Hadid.

Like classical music, the design of architecture, and especially of urban environments on a larger scale, seems to encourage dirigiste habits of mind and of action, politically as well as aesthetically. City planners tend to assume that cities have, so to speak, to be conducted (the German word for conductor being dirigent). Conducted, that is, by them. Well, they would, wouldn’t they? Schumacher challenges these kinds of assumptions.

The American guy asking the questions has been very badly recorded. But it’s mostly Schumacher, and Schumacher, thank goodness, mostly sounds somewhat better. I am learning a lot about how Schumacher thinks and about what he does. You might too. The podcast lasts a bit over an hour.

Mahler 3 will have to wait.

1 comment to Listening to Patrik Schumacher

  • Paul Marks

    The thing is that we do not have cities where the government has really left things alone to judge by.

    Houston is pointed to as city without “zoning” (planning law) – but even Houston is dominated by government built “free roads” that encourage sprawl.

    What would a city without government “free roads” look like? Like Brian I would love to allow people to be able voluntarily develop (including in transport systems) – but it requires a “leap of faith” for most people. Most people just assume that the government should provide roads (and lots of other things) and that tends to shape everything else.

    “I want to build another housing estate and your planning laws stop me – that is a violation of the free market” – well actually the planning laws do NOT stop housing estates (I have never come upon a case where they have) and these “free market” ventures tend to depend on government supplied roads and government supplied everything else.

    I would like to see REAL free markets at work – but the world will not see that in my life time.